I was speaking today to a fan of 60's/70's music (this guy is a genuine guru while I still have my training wheels on) and he has had some experience in dealing with various TV stations in the past in regards to music footage and knows collectors of various footage.
One of the things of interest that he mentioned is that the 1974 Countdowns were not destroyed. The way that I understand it is that the 1974 episodes were filmed (as in 16mm film or whatever they used at the time - Troy would know) and as such they can not be taped over as with the later video tape that they started using with colour TV so the episodes survived.
The ABC, in trying to cut costs with footage, actually cut up the reels of film and incorporated it into other shows as single performances.
Apparently this guy had access to the ABC archives at one time and went through a lot of their footage and claims that you could actually recreate 3.5 episodes of 1974 Countdowns with the footage that is still in the Melbourne ABC archives.
He actually has a lot of footage himself from other TV shows from the 60's onwards and there is a lot of interesting material that has survived - the biggest casualties were the late 70's video recorded archives as they could be wiped (apparently the tapes they used were worth in the vicinity of $50,000 each in today's terms as it was still new technology) and due to their expense often were re-recorded on.
He also knows someone who has nearly all of the Hey Hey shows with hundreds of live performances. A huge amount of Australian Bandstands (CH9) hosted by Brian Henderson still survive but as Brian still holds the rights to it they will not be getting released. Australian Bandstand was later hosted by Darryl Somers in the 70's.
Channel 7, despite stories of them having dumped material, still have large collections of Nightmoves and Sounds although they won't make that public - so it is good to know that much of it has survived although it is deteriorating.
There is other material that is thought lost but is just incorrectly labeled in the archives. And TV stations no longer throw out any footage - it is actually virtually illegal as there are laws in place to prevent that from happening as the National Film and Sound archive would have to approve it.
There are episodes of various other shows that also still exist in collectors hands and many of these can be bought on DVD.
Anyhow, just thought I would share that news in case it vaguely interests anyone.
I also found a large pile of Scanlen's Popswops trading cards from 1977 featuring Australian bands. Not my era particularly but card No.64 shows Skyhooks in the Countdown studios with a big sign behind the band "Countdown welcomes back Skyhooks"
There are several trading cards that feature Countdown images, are you interested in this sort of thing for your site Jason? I can send scans
Very interesting read.
Would love to buy some of those Hey Heys. With the extra digital stations ,and especially with it being revived this year, you would think Nine could show some old complete (not best of) Hey Heys. I always thought if Nine showed them on the main ch sat nights they would rate,and this was proven somewhat by the huge ratings for the reunion specials.
I also remember a guy on ebay who claimed to have old aust shows like Matlock Police etc,but after a few emails didn't hear from him again.
Gary those episodes of Matlock Police could be ones taped from the early - mid 80's run on Ch 10.
I remember very clearly watching Matlock Police even in B & W form every weekday for many years - used to be on just after the Sydney version of Good Morning Australia - or at least it was in Adelaide. I also remember seeing the spin-off 'Solo' which was repeated around that time.
Certainly intriguing info about the 74 Countdowns - although the bits that survived - do they also include the intros and opening titles or are they just studio performances?
I've droned on relentlessly about Australia's archiving - there is a vast wealth of material that really should be released on DVD as I know there are many fans who would love to see them.
Having said that I hope that some more old Countdowns can be discovered soon. Even the best home video cassette from the 70's would be deteriorating by now...and I doubt time is on our side anymore......
That goes for anything in the archives really - they should be preseved otherwise they'll be gone forever.
That could be the source ,but I remember also recently WIN were showing Crawford Classics late at night and I think it included Matlock Police and the likes of Division 4.
It was extremely annoying that while WIN viewers got this classic oz tv ,we Nine viewers were getting Guthy bloody Renker
Nine show plenty of US classics on GO (which i love btw)so why not show some of our own tv history?? Same goes with 7two,instead of endless hours of mouldy old AFL matches how about some classic tv from the past? Even old game shows from the 80's..something!
If you won't show them release them on DVD,not just some like Prisoner,all of them.
Thanks Guru, some very interesting & thought provoking information.
If I was to follow the made on film scenario, I'd take into account the following...
The era in which the 1st series of Countdown was made of course included productions made either entirely on film or film integrated with videotape. Given that [then] contemporary programs like GTK & Target were also predominately produced on film, it is possible that Countdown could have been produced in a similar way. 'The What Is Countdown?' promo from 1974 was itself made on film.
As most of the readers would be aware, a few of the surviving 1974 Countdown clips have survived on video (Silvery Moon' & 'Living In The 70s') as part of storage compiles collated during the show's production (bumped down across several formats). I fear that some of this stored material (containing many segments from the first series) might have been wiped along with many other items from the first 5 - 6 years of the show - hence many people referring to the first season's wiping.
Across many networks, film could be cut, burned or simply be used as landfill. I have spoken to someone who cut up 16mm film material from [a very popular British 1960s science fiction serial episode that is now missing] back in the 70s as this was usual procedure when disposing of buy in material from other networks as part of a contract (sad because they were a fan of the show).
Now it would be cruel irony if the segments used in the National Music Awards 1975 Countdown promo (seen recently on Rage) were the masters or the only copies of 1st series episodes, cut to pieces for a promo.
I ceratinly wouldn't doubt the information posted here, however I have a few questions re the cutting up of the footage
(1) How long ago were these film clips seen? If we are looking at recent times, I can certainly follow up the items and check. If specific songs or items can be recalled we might be getting somewhere in tracing them. If someone could message me, I can follow it up during the week.
(2) Cutting segments for other programs could provide a lead, though I am not sure which other programs would have used the footage. GTK was produced in Sydney (of course someone there might have requested it) and the episode survival rate for GTK prior to 1975 is very high so something from the Countdown program should have leapt out of the GTK episodes by now. Flashez drew upon/shared GTK material & that helped preserve a few GTK era clips...but if there was a specific program or there were specific programs that the Countdown 1st series snippets were added to, that could lead to these clips being found.
Cannabilising footage from older film items - a prehistoric form of ripping - whereby something would be cut from an old film item & spliced into another program usually involving older material, sometimes buy-in programs due for junking. That's how some 'Dr Who Power Of The Daleks' material survived, snippets were added to an ABC TV educational program 'C For Computer' after the Dr Who story's contract had expired & the item was most likely contractually scrapped (or at least, that's how the story goes).
It seems like such a short time had elapsed (between the first & second series of Countdown) before people were cutting the first season Countdown material up (then again Countdown was a new show without the huge following it developed a short while later), perhaps it was too expensive to transfer material from the first series for promo production, but it is odd that the surviving Skyhooks or Sherbert clips weren't cut to ribbons for a promo given the popularity of the two bands.
People that I have spoken to who worked on the first series certainly would not given up the first series programs for one mere promo and I can imagine that early performances were kept on compiles at the very least. Perhaps the original items saved by the production team is the material that your contact has seen?
It would be great if a significant amount of the first series could be returned for broadcast! If you can forward me some further info I'd be grateful.
cheers & thanks for digging this information, it could lead to us finding some clips
Interesting posts everyone, look forward to how all this turns out!
John, you may be the guy I need to speak to.
Home Sweet Home was an ABC program starring John Bluthal and a few others and when Channel 10 ran it in 1987, that was the last I saw of it. I think the program is 1980/1981 vintage. I've tried contacting the ABC about this as it hasn't seen the light on something like Foxtel's comedy channel or anywhere else since 1987 but no one knew anything.
If you ever come across this show in your searches it would be great if they could run it sometime, if it escaped the curse of the bulk eraser or dumpster.
Rest assured 'Home Sweet Home' exists & the material I have seen is in pretty good condition & is well looked after. Here's a link to an anniversary program that I worked on that included some Home Sweet Home footage http://www.abc.net.au/tv/50years/compilations/
check the 'comedy series' episode.
I hope this is useful info.
ps anyone needing TV info...generally it is best to direct requests for info on programs via the Archives in your state as I am a fairly infrequent browser & might not see a post for quite some time
One last thought, I have seen film compile reels containing cuts from various progs for use as promo material, perhaps that's where the 'C For Computer'/'Dr Who' stuff that I mentioned earlier came from (official policies across the networks would not encourage hacking into programs willy nilly or using footage indiscriminately)?....so it would be great to know if all of the'74 material was seen on a couple of film compile reels.
G'day Guru Bob.
Thanks for sharing this great info with us. I am really happy to hear of the possibility of kinescope recordings of the 1974 Countdowns being in existence and I hope for it to be 100% confirmed and for the footage to be preserved to digital beta for playback on ABC Rage retro month!!!
Now I have on my photocopies of the cue sheets of the first 20 Countdown episodes, all of the 1974 episodes were also taped to 2 inch quad tape in colour, they were of course wiped later on. But it's interesting to hear they were also recorded to 16mm B&W kinescope film too.
Anyhow look forward to hearing more info about this news.
I am not sure on all the details of the 1974 Countdown footage as the guy was also being a little protective of his information. He had definitely seen it in the last 10 or so years and is adamant it is still there and that there was all up over 1.5 hours worth that he was able to identify as Countdown footage.
For the rest of the information I had to read between the lines a bit. It appears to all be in segments of individual performances that have been used either as individual clips or merged into another show - although I don't know what show or shows. Some of it has apparently been incorrectly labeled and he found it by accident when looking through footage of similar material. It sounds like he had a bit of a run in with some one at the ABC - not sure if it was archives or higher up and didn't pass the information on.
I don't know what the artists or songs are as he didn't mention them. In regards to the format it is on I only said 16mm as a guess, I have no idea what it was - it could be tape, film or any other product used at the time, I don't even know if it was B&W or colour.
I guess the message is that it is sitting in the Melbourne ABC archives somewhere and is probably just waiting for an ABC employee to go through and do a detailed search/catalogue but it would need to be someone who could identify, and have knowledge, of the music of the time.
Thanks again GB for this information, it is certainly worth a look.
I am writing to say that Bandstand is coming out on DVD which they will be out on September 4th. The first DVD Best Of Bandstand will have 10 episodes between 1960-62 and the 2nd DVD will have 8 episodes from 1963.It's great to see this legendary show coming out on DVD and it is about time too
As the TV stations own the rights to exclusive footage recorded for their own programs this should happen more often.
There were a few Countdown live performance DVDs released a few years back but unfortunately once Gudinski took over the Countdown Spectacular circuit it ground to a halt.
With all the Hitscene episodes that survive all they need to do is cut out the copyrighted clips and they could do those.
Nightmoves was released on DVD by Liberation Music in 2009.
Details of the Bandstand DVD are here:
I would like to say also that there is more Bandstand coming out on DVD on October 2nd and the stuff that are coming out are-
Volume 3 1965-66
All Your Favourites on Stage which has the Perth concert on November 27th 1965 that includes Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs,Ray Brown and the Whispers, Merv Benton, Digger Revell, Lynn Randell, max Merritt and the Meteors,Jade Hurley and others.
Bandstand Live Liza Minnelli and the Allen Brothers/Dionne Warwick and
Bandstand Live The Everly brothers Live At Chequers 1968/Roy Orbison Special
Another Bandstand DVD is coming out in November which it's the Best OF Bandstand 1967-70